Buy a “bad IMEI” phone on eBay. They can’t be activated, but the screen is just fine. I just picked one up for $40 to replace my damaged screen (when I was following a previous version of this guide) - less than half the asking price for an LCD+digitizer alone. It also gives you more experience and a full set of replacement parts (except a motherboard which contains the bad IMEI).
Do this only after slicing all the little ribbons of adhesive that hang around - and clean up any gummed-up, bunched-up strands of adhesive after removing it. I worked at detaching adhesive until the screen was totally free, only held by the ribbon cable, before moving on from this step.
Again, pay careful attention to the strong block of adhesive sticking the display to a metal shield that’s molded into the plastic frame - the adhesive strength is quite likely to pull out the metal shield from the plastic frame and there’s no going back from that. Not as catastrophic as ripping a ribbon cable, but still pretty bad. See my comment a couple photos up about that.
This is a tricky part. See the biggest red-squared section in the photo above? That part always wants to detach — the adhesive to the screen is stronger than the molding that holds the metal into the plastic. The metal will detach from the plastic pretty easily, and there’s no way to get that metal back into the plastic frame (as it seems to have been molded as a single part). So, the adhesive is a booby-trap.
To defuse the booby-trap, heat the heck out of it, insert one end of tweezers (or perhaps a spudger) from the right side, hold the metal plate down, and verrry slooowwly convince the adhesive to separate. At some point, it’ll start cascading and snap free.
The metal finger area, between the two red squared sections above, also is a problem area — it’s latched into a frame above the battery, and those latches can get pulled up on top of the frame, preventing the phone from reassembling clean and flat. Make sure to re-insert those tabs so that little edge with the metal fingers sits flat and proper.
There is an enormous amount of adhesive sticking this thing together. As the adhesive is not essential (it holds together with clips, mostly), you really need to focus on *removing* the adhesive, so that it doesn’t stretch and bunch-up, preventing clean reassembly. Leave behind the adhesive that you can prevent from bunching-up (by cleanly breaking it, in turn by holding down one edge to the phone or screen), so you have some sticky left, but just make sure it’s not bunched-up.
No — *slaps wrist* No. Bad steps! Don’t use the suction cup at all, ever. It causes the two layers to separate immediately, long before the frame clips give way to let the screen come off.
I’m being super ultra very careful with this second attempt on a new device (that was in pretty pristine condition, if I can keep it that way!), and right when I tried pulling as instructed, the screen layers started to pull apart. Use a blade shoved into the edge of the phone and pry it apart, releasing the latches in the process!
Wow! This guide is way, way improved vs last week’s version! Nice work, Tarun! I picked up a “bad IMEI” copy of my Z2 Force on eBay to replace the damaged screen, and I’ll step my way through this when transplanting the screen. Thanks!
There are indeed 3 screws in mine as well. I updated this step.
I think the 10-year-old jab at "Apple’s ‘Engineers’” is pretty bad taste and unnecessary. Someone made a mistake. Nobody sat around at a board meeting drooling stupidly and saying “euyh we shudl just put stickbar in plastic make latch difficult to open euhh”. So I opt to remove the 15-year-old-kid level commentary from the beginning of this step to clean it up :)